Dark Tales from the Woods
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Another tremendous collection of traditional tales from Pont, featuring stories based on those passed down through the family of the gypsy storyteller Abram Wood, reputedly the first man to play a fiddle in Wales. Morden has taken written versions of the stories from an out of print book and revised them to fit the captivating rhythms of his own storytelling. Many of the stories feature Jack, the archetypal scamp, trickster and victim, who endures trials and torture to eventually emerge as victor. Familiar folklore motifs recur here, but always in original combinations and fresh contexts. These are tales of heartache, bloodshed and magic. Breckon’s monochrome scraperboard illustrations, in which a predominating pitch blackness seems to darken itself yet further against the creamy pages of this compact and sturdy hardback, provide a perfect accompaniment: a picture of Jack presenting his eyeballs to the reader on page seven is an apt image of adventures to come.
Morden’s introduction declares that the stories are for sharing, and urges readers to retell them in their own words. I can’t think of a better book to inspire this process.